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Fletcher Smith

CUNNING STUNT

2009
Acrylic on Panel with aluminum object
8" diameter x 3" depth
© 2009

Description

WHEN FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI (1377–1446) invented and
mathematically described the artistic technique of geo-
metrical perspective, he revolutionized painting, allowing
for the naturalistic representation of single unified scenes
to develop. Anamorphism—the study of distorted projec-
tions or drawings that become visible when viewed from
a particular perspective or with a special mirror—was a
natural outgrowth of this intense interest in visual per-
spective. The scientist-artists of the period—for example,
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) and Albrecht Dürer (1471–
1528)—attempted to apply mathematical and physical
principles to the art of perspective, considering cases of
extreme perspective (optic anamorphosis) and distor-
tions produced by reflection in mirrors of various forms
(dioptric anamorphosis).
Anamorphic art was a popular form of both serious art and visual
entertainment beginning in the sixteenth century. While its methods
and geometrical elucidation belong to the seventeenth century, it was
most practiced as a serious art form in the eighteenth century, one that
often used anamorphism to manipulate an image so that the true mes-
sage, often political in nature, was readable only by the initiated. By the
nineteenth century, it was almost completely relegated to the nursery
as an amusement for children. Nevertheless, it retains some popularity
today, and a small coterie of artists still practice it.
The earliest known anamorphoses were those of da Vinci and took
the form of a laterally stretched child’s face and a sketch of an eye.
Today anamorphoses are actually commonplace in busy cities. The traf-
fic directions and symbols that are painted on roadways are distorted
anamorphically. The typical form of anamorphic display seen today requires
reflection in a mirror for reconstruction of the image. Of the possible types of
display, the cylindrical mirror is the most common.
Jim Hunt “Anamorphic Art in the Time of Shakespeare “

Full Artwork Details
Artist: Fletcher Smith
Title: CUNNING STUNT
Date: 2009
Medium: Acrylic on Panel with aluminum object
Original Dimensions: 8" diameter x 3" depth
Copyright: 2009
Primary color: 
Tags: anamorphism painting

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